Unfriending your Workmate on Social Media Apparently can be Interpreted as Bullying


Cyber bullying is one of the many incidences that social media usage rears its ugly side. It thrives on the fact that the people who do this hide behind their anonymity that is quite easily to set up on social media. This is a consistent problem across the social media landscape and it has led to lobbying to the major social media companies to tackle this problem.

In an interesting twist, the Fair Work Commission from Australia ruled that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes as workplace bullying. From the ruling, the defendant, Ms Rachel Roberts filed a plea citing she was  bullied by one Mrs Lisa Bird in several instances in her workplace, which is a real estate agency.

Apparently, “Ms Roberts alleged that Mrs Bird acted in a belittling and aggressive way towards her on 29th January 2015 during an impromptu one-on-one meeting called by Mrs Bird” After leaving the office and in her car, it occurred to Ms Roberts that Mrs Bird might make a comment about the incident and after login in on Facebook, she found that Mrs Bird had unfriended her on Facebook. The document also points out that The action by Mrs Bird evinces a lack of emotional maturity and is indicative of unreasonable behaviour”

However one lawyer, Josh Bomstein was quoted saying that “The Fair Work Commission didn’t find that unfriending someone on Facebook constitutes workplace bullying”.He also went on to say that “The Facebook unfriending is bullying but only because it happened in the context of several other incidents

This incidents points to a potential future where employers and  courts alike will be dealing with cases of employees presenting cases of  of harassment on social media from their own employees. A recent case that happened locally is the Brijal Rawal incident where she lost her job after making derogatory comments about her fellow work colleagues on Facebook. This means you should be careful of what you say about your fellow workmate on social media because it may be interpreted negatively and could lead to litigation or worse losing your job altogether.

Source: News.com AustraliaABC Australia